Like CVs, application forms are also key to
demonstrating evidence of your suitability for a specific specialty
or role. The main difference is that the application form provides
a structure for the information and asks for specific detail. This
could include personal data, qualifications, clinical experience,
evidence of relevant skills, referees, etc. Regardless of the
questions asked on an application form, there are some techniques
that can be helpful.
You need to ensure that the information you
provide is correct, the spelling and grammar perfect. You will also
need to complete every section – even if the information is already
on your CV – and are encouraged to use the space allotted to fully
demonstrate your skills and experience. If an application form asks
you to provide examples (e.g. about your ability to communicate
within a team), you should provide a concise example that is
relevant to the desired specialty. This doesn’t mean that you need
to have had a rotation in that specialty, but rather that you are
able to use incidents from your other clinical (and sometimes
non-clinical experience) to illustrate your skills.
Answering skills and competency based questions
When asked a skills or competency-based
question, the first thing you should do is consider why the
question is being asked. Following the example above, why would
selectors need to know about your communication skills within a
team environment? Identify what makes a good communicator and think
of someone you know who fits this description. What do they do to
put their ideas across? How do others interact with them? Think
about your desired specialty and imagine any circumstances when
communicating with your team would be important.
This should help you to better understand
the question before choosing your example.
Using this knowledge, consider your past
experience. Choose a situation when you
have used good communication skills
ensure it highlights how you specifically
communicated to your team in a positive way.
This can be done using the STAR
format (S – Situation, T – Task, A – Action, R – Result).
Key things to remember when completing an application form
- Always get feedback from a friend or colleague.
- Follow instructions and answer the question.
- Draft several practice examples before choosing the best
and most appropriate one.
- Ensure you are demonstrating what you did, not what others
- Don’t include anything negative or make excuses.
- If given a word count, use the full amount to sell yourself but
do not go over the limit.
- Proof read – don’t trust the word processor to do it for
- Always keep a copy of the application for future
- Whether you are working on or offline, remember to save as you